As our elder loved ones age, their ability to adeptly handle the common obstacles around their home is probably not what it was when they were younger. The Home Safety Council is encouraging us to take a good look at the homes of our seniors – wherever they live – to be sure they are living in as safe an environment as we can make it.
We should also be prepared for emergencies, such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, hurricanes, floods, power outages, fires and other natural disasters.
Here are some tips to think about this month:
- Check your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detector or radon detector to be sure it is functioning properly; change batteries if needed
- Get a first aid kit or update your current kit removing expired items and outdated supplies
- Make an emergency plan in case evacuation is needed so everyone knows where to go and meet up
- Keep emergencies supplies on hand such as non-perishable food and drinking water for at least three days including three gallons of water per person
- Have prescription drug list handy and a supply of needed medications
Preventing Seniors’ Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 20,000 people die each year following a slip and fall. A million people a year are estimated to be injured through a slip and fall, with 30% suffering from severe injuries such as broken bones, bruises and head injuries. Every 13 seconds a call is answered at the National Poison Control Center and 90% of poison exposures occur in our homes. Every year 76 million people will get sick from improperly prepared or stored food most often in their homes.
- Falls – the leading cause of death for seniors over 65 years. Keep floors free from hazards such as spills, sticky spots, water, dirt, and anything that would make them slippery. Avoid highly polished floors that can be slippery. Remove throw rugs and mats that present a tripping hazard. Be careful what type of material is used marble, stone or ceramic because these surfaces don’t always dry well or provide good traction leading to a fall. Keep halls and stairways well lit. Keep walkways free of clutter.
- Fire – Don’t smoke in bed. Keep flammable materials away from source of heat. Have a fire evacuation plan. Keep smoke detectors functioning properly. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Know where the exits are and keep them free of obstacles.
- Poison – Keep chemicals stored properly with original labels. Ventilate gas appliances. Store medications safely in their original packages. Keep the poison control number next to the phone.
- Food Safety – Wash your hands often. Keep foods at proper temperatures. Store leftovers promptly. Use a meat thermometer to kill bacteria. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer. Keep food preparation surfaces clean. Separate cooked and raw foods during preparation. When in doubt, throw it out!
When we learn, plan and stay prepared, we can handle any emergency. We can prevent illness and injuries to our seniors when we know what to do.
We encourage you to share your experiences with us so we can all stay prepared.